Senator Menendez and His Wife Will Be Tried Separately in Bribery Case

The corruption trial of Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, will go forward as scheduled on May 6, but his wife Nadine Menendez, who was also charged, will be tried separately later, a Manhattan federal judge ruled on Thursday.

The judge, Sidney H. Stein, issued his ruling after Ms. Menendez’s lawyers told him that she had a “serious medical condition” that would require surgery and a potentially extended period of treatment and recovery.

Neither of the Menendezes were in court on Thursday. Before the judge issued his ruling, Adam Fee, one of the senator’s lawyers, urged him to keep the May 6 trial date.

“Every day that the specter of the unproven allegations are in the air as to our client is a detriment to him,” Mr. Fee said, arguing that a postponement could effectively hamper his ability to run in a general election.

“Every day of delay is prejudicial to him,” Mr. Fee added.

Ms. Menendez’s lawyers had asked the judge to postpone the trial for her alone because of her health issue. While federal prosecutors said they did not oppose a delay until the summer, they asked that the judge not try the Menendezes separately because that would mean holding two lengthy trials.

The Menendezes have been charged with accepting cash, gold bars and a luxury convertible in exchange for the senator’s willingness to use his political influence at home and on behalf of the governments of Egypt and Qatar. Two New Jersey businessmen have also been charged in the case. All four defendants have all pleaded not guilty.

Ms. Menendez’s lawyers, in seeking a delay, did not publicly reveal the nature of Ms. Mendez’s medical issue but provided details to the judge in a filing under seal to protect her privacy.

The latest ruling comes several weeks after Mr. Menendez said he would forgo running for re-election in a June Democratic primary, noting that the criminal charges he faced would preclude a meaningful discussion of policy issues. Mr. Menendez, 70, said he expected to prove at trial that he was not guilty, leaving the door open for a possible run for re-election as an independent in November.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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